Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work is more common than ever, but how does workers’ compensation work for remote employees? How can an injury be proved when the individual is not in a corporate setting? What does workers’ comp look like for remote employees, and what does it cover?
Brenda Jo Robyn, founder of Competitive Edge, joins us on video to answer all of these questions.
Are Employers Required to Provide Workers’ Comp Coverage for Remote Employees?
Yes. Employers are required to provide workers’ comp for all employees, whether they’re in the office, out in the field, or in their homes working.
What Does Workers’ Comp Cover for Remote Employees?
“Workers’ comp covers everything the same across all policies and all carriers,” says Brenda Jo. “What’s different are the rates that are charged based on the payroll, the industry, and the number of employees per class code within that industry.”
All of these elements dictate the rates based on which carrier takes the coverage for the employer.
Interesting to note is the new class code that was created when remote work skyrocketed. In California, a new class code was created for telecommuting. With this new class code, you have to be at home working or in a remote workplace 50% of the time or more.
If you are coming into the office for work, you will still be considered an office employee; otherwise, you’ll be in the new class code at a very inexpensive rate. Regardless, all employees will still be covered.
How Can Employers Prevent Claims From Being Made?
It’s tricky. “It’s been a really difficult thing for employers to make sure that all of their employees are set up ergonomically for remote work,” says Brenda Jo.
Setting up ergonomically includes:
- Ensuring cords are not in the way of tripping
- Identifying where remote employees are sitting
- Identifying how remote employees are sitting (as to not strain their necks, etc.)
- And more
Some employers have hired ergonomic consultants who help remote employees set up their workplace correctly, in an attempt to avoid workers’ compensation claims.
How Can Remote Employees Make Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Things get tricky when it comes to a claim made at an individual’s house or a local cafe, for example.
Let’s say a remote employee is working at a Starbucks when they slip, fall, and get injured. Brenda Jo tells us it’s going to be hard to see where that claim will fall.
“There’ll be a lot more investigation depending on how severe the injury really ends up being,” says Brenda Jo. “You can make that claim [as a remote employee], valid or not. Then it’s up to the carrier to decide whether the claim is valid through their inspections, investigations, as well as doctor’s reports, etc.” In some cases, it might include an applicant attorney getting involved.
Read on to learn more about what to expect this year from workers’ compensation policy renewals.